Kimberly Klacik, a former Republican congressional candidate in Maryland, is suing conservative commentator Candace Owens for $20 million in damages over an Instagram video Owens made in June in which she alleged Klacik had committed campaign fraud, money laundering, illegally used drugs and was a “madame” of a strip club, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court, alleges Klacik lost a book deal, had politicians cancel fundraising appearances with her and lost a contract with a “nationally recognized vendor,” after Owens posted the video June 22. In the 44-minute Instagram live video, Owens said Klacik’s charity Potential Me was illegitimate, that Klacik was a stripper at a club owned by her husband and that she misused campaign funds, according to the lawsuit.
Klacik ran unsuccessfully against Baltimore Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume for a seat in the U.S. House in 2020.
She gained attention during her campaign for a viral video shared on Twitter by former President Donald Trump in which Klacik walked the streets of Baltimore highlighting vacant homes and declaring that “Black people don’t have to vote Democrat.” She also was a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention in 2020
Her conflict with Owens began on Twitter in June when a debate about Joe Biden’s decision to make Juneteenth a federal holiday culminated in the lengthy Instagram video posted by Owens, which has more than 1.6 million views.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Owens, most known for her pro-Trump activism, has not taken down the video despite multiple letters from Klacik that the allegations were false, according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges Owens “continues to support and encourage the harassment” of Klacik.
In the video, Owens says she is “not an investigative journalist,” and “could not confirm” any of the criminal allegations she makes against Klacik. But she went on to accuse Klacik of “money laundering, tax fraud and campaign fraud,” as well as paying vendors to “move money off the books” and working to recruit strippers for a strip club Owens says Klacik’s husband owns, according to the lawsuit.
“Baseless character assassination has no place in political dialogue‚” Klacik’s attorney, Jacob Frenkel, said in a statement. “The defendant chose to use her huge social media platform to attack a respected Baltimore political figure; we are using the proper forum — the power of the courts — to respond. The detail in Ms. Klacik’s lawsuit speaks for itself.”
Klacik has since released multiple statements on her Twitter and YouTube accounts denying Owens’ allegations.
“She has falsely accused me, private citizens & businesses of federal crimes so I would like this to play out in court rather [than] social media,” Klacik wrote in a June 24 Twitter statement.
Representatives for Owens did not respond to requests for comment Monday.